Faith, and A Picture of A Tree
Peace cannot come from worry. You won't have true soul-stillness by any means of your own. The only way you can have what you desire is in Him. In this verse He isn’t saying peace will come when you read your Bible, attend church, or when people tell you everything will be alright and wrap it with a hug. He says: In me, you may have peace. Sometimes in order for things to get better, you have to put your complete trust in the Lord and his love, and realize that you can’t do everything on your own. When you do this, when you drop your pride and run to Him, when you accept that God is in complete control, He will show you His faithfulness, and He will provide. That’s the beauty of faith, and the secret to peace.
I find it interesting that Jesus starts this sentence off with the peace that He gives, because immediately after that He tells us something that’s not so comforting. He says: In this world you will have trouble. When we look at these words Jesus tells us, It’s not going to be easy. You will have trouble, and not the kind of trouble that you experience day-to-day. You will have faith-testing, world-shattering trouble that will rock you to your very core, the kind that almost snuffs you out and brings your life to a halt. Here, Jesus is promising us that you will experience that trouble. And honestly it's not such a nice thing to accept.
A few months back, I was told by the people I was living with that I had to be out by March. They were doing some remodeling, and needed my room for space. I thought that was valid. To make it even better for me, they gave me multiple months notice before-hand. I really like these people, and I didn't want to leave, so like an idiot I waited until the last minute to get out.
Once in a while, I refuse to ask my friends for help because I'm feeling prideful and I don't want to rely on anybody else. This was one of those times. So instead of asking my friends from church for help I put an ad on Craigslist. My mistake. The first guy I met with was a little creepy and after some probing discovered he was gay. For $250 a month though, I was willing to overlook his creepy vibe and valentines decorations so I could have a cheap place to live. Well, everyone in my life was shouting at me not to take it, so I moved on to the next. This next guy was far less creepy of a person so I went ahead and dropped the deposit, and moved in a few days later.
The day after I moved in, I discovered just how much I will overlook things when I am blindly assuming the best in someone. My girlfriend helped move a few last things into the room, and as soon as we stepped back outside, she pointed out the smell. "You don't smell that?" she said. I mean it smelled funny but I just assumed they loved cleaning with Vinegar or something weird like that.
That's when the light clicked on. It was not vinegar, or smoke, or pot, or anything else. That smell was something far worse. Then I started noticing all sorts of unnatural things about the place. First, the fact that they had asked me not to be home during the day, ever, because his wife needed 'sleep' after her night shift. Second, the tarp covering some large contraption on their kitchen table, and the rasta curtains covering the entrance to the living room (which I was not allowed into.) Third, the padlock on the outside of my door. Fourth, the smell. After some quick google searches and witty deduction, we figured out they were making black tar heroin.
Needless to say, I made a pretty ignorant and oblivious mistake. I told my dad about the situation in the morning at church, and we skipped the service and moved me out immediately. I was devastated. I didn't have a place to live, everything I owned was in my car, I lost my deposit, and I had to admit this everyone. I decided now was a good time to let go of my pride and trust God would provide me a place to live. And, later in the day without any prompting, I got a call from a couple offering me a place! I couldn't believe it! I think I moved in a day or two later, I can't remember. And the best part? These people are now my mentors and some of my best friends!
In the end I moved into a house with a different couple, because of location, but now I have this wonderful relationship with these people that will last the rest of my life! I spent so much time and effort trying to handle this on my own, when all I needed to do is let go and trust. As soon as I did that, my situation went from dire to marvelous. I just had to remember that He is bigger than my stupid problems, and give them up to Him.
Jesus puts both the best and the worst things in life in the same sentence so that when our life is shattered, we know where to find peace; because we’re gonna need it. He is telling us that peace can be found in our lives no matter what. Which brings us to the next section: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Trouble will come, life will hurt, stuff happens, but God is bigger and He is at work and He's got a plan. Believing in Jesus doesn’t make you exempt from the hurt in the world. Nothing does. In fact, I think it makes you more prone to it; because Jesus has a way of wrecking our lives and using our broken pieces to make something new, and entirely more beautiful than we ever were before. But when life hurts and we turn to the cross, we are reminded that God loves us. That He died for us. It’s something so simple, yet so profound, and so absolutely awesome that we can’t help but be flooded with the joy and peace that Jesus brings.